Understanding The Signs Of Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol dependence can impact your life in several ways, causing a range of problems. Not only can alcohol addiction affect your mind and body, but your life in general. 


Knowing and understanding the signs of alcohol dependence is the first step toward seeking treatment. If you are unable to spot the signs of addiction, nothing will change. 


That being said, if you’re worried that you are dependent on alcohol, we recommend you seek help regardless. Read on to find out more about the signs of alcohol dependence, whether it be in yourself or a loved one. 

What Is Alcohol Dependence?

Before we explore the signs and symptoms of alcohol dependence, let’s discuss what it means. Alcohol dependence typically refers to the physical dependence on alcohol – the physical aspect of addiction. 


Alcohol addiction, however, often refers to psychological addiction; although both terms are often used interchangeably. Both conditions fall under the term ‘alcohol use disorder’ – with dependence being the more severe form of alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorder is categorised as mild, moderate, and severe. 


Alcohol abuse refers to alcohol misuse, and is a form of substance abuse. Alcohol abuse typically involves drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short space of time. This can include binge drinking. Binge drinking can be dangerous and lead to alcohol poisoning, which should be considered a medical emergency. 


Ultimately, alcohol addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease that involves the lack of control over drinking alcohol. This can include how much you drink, how often you drink, when you begin drinking and when you stop drinking. 


Alcohol dependence is widely known as a physical illness and a mental illness – this is because of the effects alcohol can have on your mind and your body. 


If you think you are dependent on alcohol, you’re not alone. In England, there are roughly 600,000 people who are alcohol-dependent – which means around 1 in 30 women and 1 in 12 men are ‘alcoholics’. 


Around the world, there are over 14 million adults who have a problem with alcohol. Unfortunately, alcoholism is more common than you may think – but not everybody gets the treatment they need. 


This is something we hope to change at AnorMed, by not only informing people about alcohol addiction but ensuring people get the treatment they need to overcome their addiction.

How Do I Know If I Am Dependent on Alcohol?

Addressing the signs of alcohol dependence is the first step to recovery – in order to receive the addiction treatment you deserve, you have to come to terms with your addiction. 


These signs alone do not confirm whether you have an addiction or not – however, if you do relate to these signs, we can help you. Read on for some signs that indicate you could be dependent on alcohol.

You Continue to Drink Alcohol Despite The Consequences

There are many negative effects of alcohol abuse and addiction; alcoholism can affect your finances, relationships, mental health, physical health, and pretty much all areas of your life. 


Alcohol abuse can affect you physically in a range of ways – and can increase the risk of developing several types of cancer.  


Alcohol addiction involves the lack of control over alcohol consumption – whether it be heavy drinking and alcohol abuse or simply drinking at inappropriate times. 


This means that if you are dependent on alcohol, you may continue to drink alcohol despite the negative effects it can have on your life. Likewise, you may wish to stop but feel unable to do so, as alcoholism is a relapsing disease – and you may feel compelled to drink. It can be difficult to overcome addiction without the right support – which is why AnorMed are here to help you.

You Experience Withdrawal Symptoms When You Stop Drinking

The most prominent sign that you are dependent on alcohol is if you experience withdrawal symptoms when you drastically lower the amount of alcohol you usually drink, or when you suddenly stop drinking. 


Although most people feel hungover after a night of heavy drinking, withdrawal is more than that. Withdrawal occurs when your body has developed alcohol dependence and feels as though your body needs alcohol to function. 


If unpleasant symptoms persist after a day or so of not drinking, you are most likely going through alcohol withdrawal. 


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity and can include physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Some alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include: 


  • Alcohol cravings
  • Fever-like symptoms 
  • Changes in appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Stomachache
  • Hand tremors 
  • Red face 


Some psychological and behavioural withdrawal symptoms can include mood swings, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and depression. Withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person – although the general rule of thumb is that the more severe the dependence, the more severe the symptoms will be. 


We recommend a medical detox if you have a severe addiction. During a medical detox, you will be in the presence of medical professionals who may administer detox medication. Contact us today to discuss your alcohol detox options. 

You Prioritise Alcohol

When you have an addiction, the substance quickly becomes a priority. This means you may neglect activities you once enjoyed, and stop spending time with loved ones. 


If you prioritise drinking and have begun neglecting your existing responsibilities in order to drink alcohol, you have a problem. For example, if you drink instead of going to work or turn up to work intoxicated, or forget to take your children to school due to being hungover, you likely have an alcohol problem.

You Have a Lack of Control Over Drinking

If you are dependent on alcohol, you may have the desire to lower your alcohol consumption or stop drinking, but struggle to do so. You may also have no desire to stop drinking, despite the negative consequences that can occur to your life, mind, and body. 


Ultimately, if you feel as though your alcohol consumption has gotten out of control, you should address the issue. Alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction and alcohol dependence all involve the lack of control over drinking; and all issues should be addressed and resolved as soon as possible. 


Other people may have noticed your alcohol problem too – which is a telltale sign you should seek professional support. At AnorMed, we can find the right place for you to overcome your addiction and receive the alcohol rehab you need. 

How Do I Know if a Loved One is Dependent on Alcohol?

Although it can be difficult to identify the warning signs of alcoholism in yourself, it can be even more difficult to tell whether a friend or family member is struggling with alcohol dependence, especially if they are a ‘high functioning alcoholic’. 


However, there are a few signs to look out for that could suggest an alcohol problem – read on for more. 

They Drink More Than Usual

A sign to look out for if you’re worried about a friend’s drinking is how much they drink. If they appear to be drinking more alcohol than usual or are drinking at inappropriate times (for example, in the morning or at work), this indicates an issue. 


Likewise, if their tolerance has increased, they could be dependent on alcohol. Alcohol tolerance can quickly turn into dependence. This means that your friend may need to drink more alcohol to feel intoxicated – they may appear sober after drinking large quantities of alcohol. This is because their bodies are used to high levels of alcohol.  


That being said, tolerance alone is not a definite sign of addiction; several factors can determine somebody’s tolerance to alcohol such as age, height, or weight.

They’re Withdrawing From Friends and Family

One of the key behavioural signs to look out for is isolation. People with addiction, whether it be to drugs or alcohol, will often withdraw from friends and loved ones. Often, this is in order to prioritise alcohol. 


Another reason for this could be shame or embarrassment. Addiction can be difficult for everybody involved, and somebody with an addiction may isolate themselves or hide away in order to hide the addiction or protect their loved ones from finding out the truth about the severity of the dependence.


Addiction can affect a person’s mental health – which can be another reason why people may begin to isolate themselves when addicted to alcohol. 

Finding The Right Rehab To Overcome Alcohol Dependence

At Anormed, we can help you find the right treatment program for you – we can help you stop drinking alcohol for good and get your life back on track. Each day you go without treatment is another day wasted; so contact us today to find the treatment you deserve. 


We are connected with rehab clinics located all over England and Wales and can find the right rehab program for you, considering your preferences and requirements. For example, we can help you find a luxury rehab centre or a more affordable option. Likewise, we can assist by finding both residential rehab clinics and outpatient rehab plans. 


Whether you’re looking to complete a detox, or detox as part of a larger rehab program consisting of detox, therapy and secondary treatment, we are here to help. 


You don’t have to deal with addiction alone – our team at AnorMed is on hand to support you. Contact us today to get your spot at alcohol rehab secured, or to receive advice on finding rehab treatment. 

Free 24/7 Callback Service

Start your journey today on the road to recovery by reaching out to our friendly addiction managers who will be able to tell you the best next steps in treating your addiction.

Free Callback Service

Our trained addiction counsellors are available 24 hours a day to help you